How terribly sad

This is actually quite a good article. The author is quite candid about what She believed and perhaps still believes feminism is all about, however her general tone still comes across as most men are rude pigs.

She does ask why men are so rude these days but doesn’t actually answer the question, reverting instead to explaining a bit more of her “coming out” as a lady.

If you read the whole article it quite clearly shows why it is that these days, a lot of men don’t bother with the finer points of etiquette but I was still left with the impression that She felt it was still, somehow, the fault of the men.

The man who taught me even feminists like a touch of chivalry

The first time that my future husband did it, I nearly walloped him for playing a practical joke on me.

‘What the hell are you doing?’ I hissed, as other diners in the restaurant looked on. ‘Are you trying to break my coccyx? I could have landed on my bottom!’

Poor Cornel looked aghast. You see, he wasn’t joking. He’d merely tried to do something no man had done for me before: pull out my chair for me to sit down.

Back then, six years ago, we had just met and were enjoying the dating phase of romantic meals in nice restaurants. I found him funny, charming and witty, but one thing about him made me feel rather uncomfortable — his manners.

Now I don’t know about you but there are a lot of things that leave me feeling uncomfortable on a first date, I can’t say good manners is one of them.

On that first date, when it was time to leave the restaurant, he held up my coat behind me for me to slip my arms into. His solemn face remained a picture of dignified charm while I ruined it by collapsing into a fit of giggles.

‘Give me my coat,’ I said. ‘This isn’t Pride And Prejudice.’

Cornel half-laughed, too, but I could see a flicker of doubt in his eyes that said: You, madam, are no lady.

Before Cornel, no man had ever helped me into my coat or pulled out my chair — unless it was an office joke and I was supposed to fall on my behind.

Given her reaction to this man’s simple acts of common courtesy, it’s hardly surprising She had never encountered good manners before. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that once ridiculed in such a fashion, few men, or women for that matter, would risk public humiliation again. Had this relationship fizzled out after the first date, would Cornel have treated his following date with the same politeness?. I’d like to think so but I doubt it somehow. Once bitten, twice shy.

After a hard day at the office I could usually be found in the local hostelry downing goldfish bowl-sized glasses of Pinot Grigio while joking raucously with my colleagues.

If a man had offered his seat to me on the train, I’d probably have said: ‘Do I look so fat you think I’m pregnant or something?’

A lady I was not. I could drink a man under the table. I ate sandwiches as I ran down the street.

Then I met Cornel. He had a good sense of humour, but there was something quietly dignified about him, something old-worldly.

Once again She manages to highlight, quite simply, why so few men these days are willing to risk an unwarranted verbal (or even physical) attack when simply trying to be well mannered. She portrays her own behaviour as quite normal, even acceptable, whilst Cornels is somehow odd.

At first, frankly, it felt odd. I wondered: was it just a cultural difference because he was from Romania? Certainly, no British boyfriend had ever acted this way.

Here, She hits the nail on the head, without, I think, actually realising it. Yes it is a cultural difference. There are very few countries in the world, even in our enlightened modern times, where women going out for the night, dressed in little more than underwear, drinking like fish, vomiting in public and passing out wherever they land is viewed as a good thing. Hell, even in this country most people think it is unacceptable. It is hardly surprising that no British boyfriend ever treated her with respect, when her likely response would have been to call him a wanker, slap him in the face then vomit on his shoes. To be treated like a lady one must first act like one.

Women of my generation were taught to believe that accepting gentlemanly actions was a slap in the face to our hard-won feminism. It seemed I was betraying the sisterhood.

No we weren’t. Well at least I wasn’t. I was brought up to believe that being a woman simply meant I no longer had to settle for just being a wife and mother. There was a whole other world out there and if I wanted it, all I had to do was knuckle down and go get it. My mother, a child of the revolution, never once told me that to make it in this ‘new world’ that She helped create, I had to give up good manners. My Mum’s entire take on Womens Lib, Femism etc was ‘My generation did the hard bit, the world is now your oyster’.

She never once told me that if a man opened a door for me, the acceptable ‘modern female response’ should be a quick jab to the jaw. One of the saddest things I ever saw was my Mum, a real bra burning feminist, being driven out of her local, where she had been drinking as a single divorcee since the early 70′s (divorced and alone in a public house, now that took balls), by a group of drunken, 20 something women, on a works outing, that verbally assaulted her when she asked them to refrain from using the word c*** so often.

I find that last statement the most telling. What sisterhood?. I don’t believe such a thing exists anymore, and hasn’t for sometime. Women these days are just as quick, if not quicker, to attack a ‘sister’, as they are to go for a man. Look at Nadine Dorries et al, turning on Louise Mensch because Louise made a personal decision to put her Husband and Children first. That’s not a sisterhood, that’s a bloody cult. Do as we say or you will be banished forthwith and flayed with a thousand harsh words.

Regardless of my own opinion on Louise Mensch, I applaud her response to Nadine Dorries. Whilst Nadine rambled on, and on, and on about Louise, taking up a whole article ‘dissing her sister’, Louise simply responded ”Waking up to find self on the Nadine Dorries naughty step, which is a pity as I spend my entire life worrying about what she thinks (ahem).” Pithy, to the point and above all, polite.

I have men friends I have known since school, whom I would trust with my life. I have girlfriends from school I wouldn’t trust with my shopping list, let alone anything as serious as a secret or a boyfriend. They are so obsessed with ‘having it all’ they would literally climb over a ‘sister’ to get it, and believe every other woman would do the same. For a Sister, the hood can be a pretty lonely and dangerous place these days. I have witnessed lifelong girlfriends come to blows over nothing more than a new or prospective partner speaking to the friend for more than five minutes. I myself have lost several ‘Sisters’ over the last few years, because as a single female (long term, long distance boyfriends aren’t counted as partners) the only reason I would express doubt about a Sisters new partner, who has less than desirable habits, is because I’m a spiteful old spinster bitch who can’t get a boyfriend herself so sets out to steal or scare off everyone elses’.

I pride myself on being a modern woman. A feminist, if you will. I manage to make my way in the world, holding my own whilst also, somehow, managing to hold doors open for others, always. I would rather die than ever allow a shop door to slam in the face of someone else, regardless of their sex. I make a point of thanking those that do the same for me. I do this without ever feeling that, by simply being polite, I am somehow giving away my womanhood and resigning myself to a life of servitude at the hands of of evil men. I’m just being well mannered.

I am always a little saddened if the door holder looks shocked at my warm smile and heartfelt ‘ Thank you’. I make damned sure I mutter out loud  ’You’re f****** welcome’ regarding those, of both sexes, and ages, that stroll through the open door I am holding with out so much as a civil ‘Thank you’. I make a point of allowing those with 2, 4, 6 or even a hundred items to take my place in the queue if I have more. I am always the first with ‘After you’ and get really bloody cross when I insist a modern women enters a store before me and the thanks I get is is watching her stroll off to the handbag department whilst the door slams shut in my face.

I’ll let the rest of you decide if this woman actually deserves the well mannered partner she has somehow managed to land. Is she a feminist, fighting her corner, but proud to reveal her softer side? or is She still a rude, obnoxious, self centered narcissist that has no bloody idea how lucky she is and still thinks her husband’s good manners are a bit of a joke, albeit a joke that She has chosen, as a a true feminist, to take and use as a way to earn her own, independent and not in anyway male influenced living, goddammit.

3 Responses to “How terribly sad”

  1. James Higham August 31, 2012 at 06:55 Permalink

    Firstly, to readers, this post needs to be read carefully because at times, Seaside Sourpuss appears to be advocating something but actually she’s not – it’s what she grew up believing. Still, there were things she does believe and I’m going to tackle a few.

    turning on Louise Mensch because Louise made a personal decision to put her Husband and Children first

    Whoever said she put her husband and children first? That was the cover story, the fallback position, once she realized she was both persona non grata and that she couldn’t cut it politically. She and Chloe Smith are poster girls for people who shouldn’t be in parliament because they have both overweening personal ambition, disorderly minds masquerading as intelligence and this debilitating disease called feminism, which by definition pits woman against man, in direct contradiction to how it should work – cooperatively.

    I pride myself on being a modern woman. I manage to make my way in the world, holding my own whilst also, somehow, managing to hold doors open for others

    Again, there it is – “modern” woman, one of the most dastardly qualifying adjectives unwittingly employed today. Why “modern”? Why not just “woman”? Why is woman any different today than she was before? Here is Seaside Sourpuss’s partial answer:

    I was brought up to believe that being a woman simply meant I no longer had to settle for just being a wife and mother.

    And there’s the nub of the matter – why must it be to “settle” for wife and mother, as if it is somehow a negative? What about “choose to be” a wife and mother?

    Elizabeth Fox-Genovese:

    Feminists accuse the religious right of trying to dictate what a woman should be and how she should think about a vast array of complicated problems. Meanwhile, these same feminists practice the very thing they preach against…Feminist diversity does not embrace women who oppose abortion, do not view heterosexual encounter as rape, prefer to stay home with young children, see some value in single-sex education, or do not want every workplace flirtation to be punished as sexual harassment.

    The bottom line is that women are being actively discouraged from marriage and motherhood by forces with diseased minds. The problem is that, like all evil muvvers, they align themselves with and play on women’s most deepseated wants. Nothing wrong with the wants themselves – one is is self-determination, another is to play a role, to play a part with the boys and not be stuck away in some hole.

    But it’s only a hole because the feminists, starting way back at the turn of the last century said it was and the only reason they said they were so dissatisfied is that they were told they were by the media and journals of the day, which led to public debate. This comes into the 11 a.m. post today. And who told them this? The very same forces which were behind all the other troubles.

    What came out from the 60s to the 80s was similar to what came out in the 20s – the “modern” woman and what did it lead to? Deep dislocation, e.g. in Paris and Berlin where the binding fabric of society disintegrated and both violence and debauchery ruled, with obvious consequences. And how did they end? With a war which wiped out millions and rearranged society yet again.

    There is puppet mastering going on here and it always has done.

    Just as the wormtongue destructive force in society wormed its way into women’\s brains and told them they were dissatisfied [see Minette Marrin on this in posts passim], told them they were being shortchanged, oppressed when they bloodywell weren’t in most homes, ignored their already extanct huge power over men simply by engaging men with them in their cause at the micro level, as distinct from the very public, divisive macro “movements”, so it wormed its way into men’s brains at the time of Hitler and Stalin and Agatha Christie tapped that one when she spoke of the glory the individual thought he personally was going to bring to the nation.

    There are primal drives in all of us and they are exploited and manipulated. Feminism is a divisive manipulation for broader political purposes and it gains its “legitimacy” from tapping into women’s prime motivations and twisting them into an aberration. The result is as we see.

    The most insulting thing which underlies the response to the predictable negative reaction to feminism is the lie that we are somehow misogynist, hating all women and that we want women back in the stone age, back in the kitchen.

    Apart from being utter c**p, it is a cynical manipulation yet again – it takes the argument in its own terms and on its own terms, sees opposition to it as all sorts of nasty buzzwords. This is pure propaganda technique and sadly, so many fall for it, particularly women. As EF Genovese said, it was not like this at all – women make choices and one of those which the vast majority inevitably make is to go the mother and marriage route.

    The current day failure of that, as distinct from decades ago, comes down to the “modern” woman and man. Warren Zevon sang about it – nobody’s in love this year. In a society where one’s individual wants are paramount and one’s partner’s wants are a threat to that – what possible hope is there?

  2. Seaside Sourpuss August 31, 2012 at 08:10 Permalink

    Goodness James, that comment was almost longer than the article (I knew you’d love it!). Can I just clarify a couple of things. When I used the term modern woman, I didn’t mean it in quite the way you thought. It was just a term to describe the difference between the way I was bought up and the way my mother was. My point about Louise Mensch was to highlight Nadine Dorries reaction to the situation. Like you I don’t actually believe the reasons Louise gave but Nadines response, given her own track record was quite hypcritical. My quote regarding settling for being just a wife and mother was based back in the 70′s when people were only just beginning to accept that a woman could be a wife, a mother and hold down a job. A lot of women still had to settle for just being a wife and mother, even if they wanted more. There is absolutely nothing wrong in wanting to be a wife and mother only, but it is nice these days to have the option of being able to work if you want to. I myself was a stay at home Mum for 5 years and I loved every minute of it. It’s down to the individual.
    Women today are a lot different to how they were in the past. My mother wasn’t allowed to have a mortgage in her own name after she left my father. She was earning a good enough wage but she still had to get her sisters husband to sign as guarantor, even though she was actually earning more than he was. I chose to leave my Husband because He simply couldn’t accept that when married your children and partner come first. His disregard for my well being and that of our children was at times upsetting and others downright bloody dangerous. 50 years ago, chances are I would have stayed with Him. Now not all men are like this, and yes marriage has become somewhat disposable but for me, no amount of working a little harder at it would have made it any better. My ex was a shit and my children and I deserved better. I used the term feminist to describe myself but reading it back it doesn’t sound the way I wanted it to. I am just a woman, working hard and bringing up her kids. I believe women these days can have it all, they just need to be aware of how much hard work is required to achieve it. I don’t believe women should be given a ‘leg up’, I believe it does more harm than good. If you want a husband, children and a job you just have to work a little harder for it. You cannot seek equality if you are willing to use inequality to achieve your goal. I should imagine most successful women have a husband or partner to help share the load but it is not impossible to do it on your own, it just takes a little more organising. I am proof of this, I have great, well rounded children and a job that whilst not being exactly what I want is deeply satisfying. If my husband hadn’t been such a selfish arse I could have had the triple. I’ll settle for two out of three.

  3. A K Haart August 31, 2012 at 09:54 Permalink

    A splendid post.

    If I may say so (he said politely) writing like this can seem to be rather like throwing rocks into a swamp. They sink and for a while, you wonder if it was worthwhile, but sooner or later the rocks make a difference and people find a way across the swamp.

    Of course to a certain type of person, that comment could seem condescending, but that wasn’t the intention. The easy option would be to have said nothing – much like not opening the door for a lady – in case she isn’t.

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